Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Daughter's Addiction

I haven’t posted in quite some time. Only a few comments here and there. I guess it was because my daughter kept going up and down and I just kept writing the same thing. In the past year she’s been going down and down. She’s spent more time in hospitals and detox and motels than anything. She even spent a little time in jail because of physically abusing me in my home. The mental illness I can handle but the addictio makes it so much worse
She has continued to use DXM for 13 yrs. Longer use makes people aggressive and so angry. She’s been kicked out of my apt. complex for bizarre and angry out bursts. Plus she has to tell “her story” to everyone she meets. And she has a lot of terrible stories from her adult life. She thinks everyone wants to hear it. And gets mad if I tell her they’re just being polite or just don’t know what to do. For example, she met an older lady outside. The lady was carrying a little dog. She told the lady about her experiences with dogs and how she threw her dog against the wall. She’d try to help workers doing roof repairs or gardening. Anyway lots of reporting of those things plus screaming and badgering me. Because of her mental illness, I felt responsible. I went to a therapist who had been an addict (recovering after 5 yrs). She said her parents finally quit enabling her, kicked her out and told her not to contact them until she’s had a year of sobriety. She tried but they would say, "you’re still using and that adds a year from that day. She said she finally “hit bottom” and worked her way back. She didn’t say if she had mental illness, but someone that far gone has become mentally ill. My daughter has been in a mental hospital for 5 months and various detox centers. She can’t handle rehab because she is so negative and telling her story to all. It alienates the people there because they want to quit drugs so they try to ignore her and she blames them for the problem. In the past month she been kicked out of 6 motels, and a homeless shelter, after only a day. She’s in the mental hospital again and now she has no where to go. I gave her the choice to join the homeless in a tent city behind Walmart or go to Cherry hospital. She chose Cherry. This is the change I’m making and I will stick to it (I pray for strength because it is killing me): I talked to her on the phone yesterday and told her I was breaking off communication with her and would not see her again until she’s been sober and taking her medications for a year. Just like my therapist’s family did. Of course she is furious, scared and threatening suicide. Everything is my fault. (she says). I talked to her 3 times on the phone to show I was serious. I cried and cried afterwards. I know I should have done this years ago, but kept thinking I could help her. This is her only hope and I pray she makes the right choice. I worry about the suicide. She has tried before, but that’s what I have to do. She has no friends, Her dad and grandmother do talk to her, but won’t see her til she’s sober or in the hospital. My question is; should I continue to talk to her on the phone? If I do she will continue to try to badger me into helping her. She manipulates me and I think it would be bad for me. I already have stress related health issues. Please try to answer.

You are a long time parent and know that ultimatums can be really difficult for parents. Stick to your ultimatum. If you think that talking with her will weaken your stance, then give yourself a break and don’t talk to her until you feel stronger.

Take care of yourself.

I agree with hope. If you made an ultimatum, stick by it. It will give consistent feedback to your daughter. I think our kids (and dogs for that matter!) reserve their worst behavior for us. Perhaps it is because they feel safer with us around. Stay strong and know that you are not alone in this baffling struggle we find ourselves engaged in.

Thank you Hope. I haven’t been able to block her calls and it breaks my heart when I can’t talk to her, but I just can’t. I remember talking to you before. Are things ok with you?

Your situation is extremely difficult and I understand when it comes to a daughter. Your heart breaks and you feel so much pain inside.
I would suggest you focus on the support you need. Talk with a ‘reliable’ therapist who can help you sort through things. They should be able to listen to you and not give advice but help you find what works best for you.
Also contact NAMI for what resources they have for you and your daughter.
Find a positive way you can learn for yourself how to deal with this situation and one way is educating yourself. Read Dr. Amador’s book “I don’t need help, I am not sick”. Your daughter may realize that she is sick but the LEAP process is helpful for any caregiver of a mental ill person.
Did your daughter sign a release so you can get feedback from the medical personnel there in the hospital? This might help you to at least know how she is doing. Fear is a real thing for those of us wanting to help a daughter.
I had been estranged from my daughter at one time and it was difficult. I do know that anyone with a mental illness truly needs the support and care from her family and others who are willing to care for her but you need to decide for yourself.

I am hanging in there, my son is going through some things right now, its keeping me pretty busy. How is your daughter doing?

Thank you for your advice. The therapist I have is excellent. Not speaking with my daughter is helping. It’s just too much stress anymore. It’s only been a little over a wk, but I still want to answer her calls. I have tried everything else. Her social worker at the hospital says she’s doing good and talking about rehab again. I warned her that she does that to get out of the hospital, goes to rehab for a little while and then quits so she can hop from place to place. She’s very good at manipulating. She said it wouldn’t be any time soon. I just take it one day at a time and pray.

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Since I am not communicating with her, I rely on her social worker at the hospital and her dad after he talks to her. She was on ativan to keep her calm but they are weaning her off so I’m sure her anger is increasing. Her social worker says she’s doing fine, but they had no plans to release her in quite a while. There’s no where for her to go. If she could just get rid of the drug use, I think she could take her medicine and be able to cope with this world. But she’s already done so much damage to herself. Despite how bad it has been, I miss her. I’m glad your son is doing well even though problems arise you seem to be able to handle it. Thank you so much.

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Thank you for your words of encouragement. I’m lucky that I have friends that keep pushing me to stay on course, too. I’m just glad she is in a safe place.